Special-needs athletes recognized at banquet for participation in activities

Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Shirley Hurley (from left), Jessica Hurley, Katie Monahan and Peg Monahan attended the RECing Crew's athletic banquet May 20 at North Augusta Community Center. About 75 special-needs athletes and their families were honored at the event.

Academic and athletic awards banquets are the norm this time of year.


"This is just like what the high schools do," said Pam Stickler, founder of the RECing Crew program for special needs children and adults, at the group's banquet May 20 at North Augusta Community Center. "This gives them a chance to show what they've done."

About 75 children and adults are enrolled in the athletic programs offered by the RECing Crew. All received participation medals or trophies at the event. Of the 75, 55 are members of the Alley Cats bowling league. Others participate in the TRecS basketball and baseball program or Jazzercise.

Mrs. Stickler said previous annual banquets had been for bowlers; this was the first year all of the athletes had come together.

"Hopefully, the bowlers will be interested in other activities, and the other athletes interested in bowling," she said.

Jessica Hurley, 25, of Beech Island, was excited about the banquet.

The baseball program was her favorite, she said.

"She always wanted to play sports, but she never had the opportunity until this came along," said her mother, Shirley Hurley.

The program is good for Jessica Hurley, but it has also been beneficial to her mother.

"For the parents, they get to talk to each other," she said. "It's a great support group."

The RECing Crew has participants with various disabilities -- some are in wheelchairs; some have Down syndrome. Also, the program is not limited by age. Adults and children participate in the activities.

Although Ms. Stickler lives in North Augusta and many of the activities take place there, its participants come from all over the Aiken-Augusta area, Mrs. Stickler said.

Athletic programs run according to the school calendar, and athletes have the summer off.

In addition to the athletic programs, the RECing Crew has a social component that includes dances and field trips.

Mrs. Stickler said there are plans to expand programs. Some parents have expressed interest in having arts-related activities, such as music, choral or dance lessons. An annual fundraiser, Sweet Celebrations, helps to offset the cost of activities for the participants.

For more information, call Mrs. Stickler at (803) 279-8820.

Reach Charmain Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.